Above and Beyond: MPD Officers honored for life-saving actions

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MANCHESTER, NH – By nature of their work, Manchester Police Officers are the everyday heroes of the Queen City.  With each shift, by reporting for duty, they carry the weight of our public safety with them. It’s something that’s impossible to measure, but they feel it – far beyond the required gear, the holstered guns and 30-pound bullet-proof vests they wear underneath their uniforms and badges.

Every day the 911 calls come for assistance, for those in dire need – residents of the city who are facing down their own demons – drug addiction, despair, suicidal thoughts, desperation. Manchester Police Officers are on the front lines. Last year officers responded to more than 140,000 calls for service.

Based on the current stats, Manchester Police will respond to even more calls in 2016.

On April 4, as a tangible token of appreciation for their work — using their training and showing valor and heart in life-altering acts of courage — 23 officers were honored with medals and certificates for a number of situations they encountered during the line of duty that resulted in saving actual lives.

The officers stood humbly before their peers and a gathering of family and friends at the Radisson Hotel as a synopsis of each of their actions was retold. If asked, each would say they were simply doing their jobs, and that any of their fellow officers would have done the same in a similar situation.

And that is true.

Chief Nick Willard reads a plaque to Denny O'Neil for 45 years of service as a bail commissioner.
Chief Nick Willard reads a plaque to Denny O’Neil for 45 years of service as a bail commissioner.

Chief Nick Willard says often that the daily positive outcomes in Manchester when police officers respond to a call underscore his pride in the collective team of men and women who wear the badge.

But at least for one day each year, he has the pleasure of seeing that officers are recognized for those otherwise unchronicled scenarios in which their actions saved a life, and made all the difference.

Among those honored: Manchester Police Det. Patrick Houghton, named Officer of the Year for his part in numerous investigations that supported the police department’s commitment of serving, protecting and seeing that justice is served.

Also recognized: Longtime Bail Commissioner Denis “Denny” O’Neil who was honored with a plaque for his 45 years of service.

Det. Patrick Houghton, 2016 Manchester Police Officer of the Year.
Det. Patrick Houghton, Manchester Police Officer of the Year.

Manchester Police Officer of the Year: Det. Patrick Houghton

Detective Houghton recently completed his 13th year of service with the Manchester Police Department, and for the past eight years has been assigned as detective within the Investigative Division.

Detective Houghton was selected Officer of the Month for June 2015 and was also nominated for Officer of the Month for December.

During 2015, Detective Houghton was involved in numerous investigations for which he prepared 28 arrest warrants and 35 search warrants, as well as indictments for incidents ranging from homicide and first-degree assault to robbery and burglary. He was able to obtain numerous confessions for these incidents, which is a testament to his interview skills. In difficult investigations, he continually demonstrates that results will be achieved through perseverance. In recognition of his excellent performance of duty, Detective Houghton has been named Officer of the Year for 2015.


Officer Andrew Delorey
Officer Andrew Delorey

Life Saving Medal awarded to Officer Mark Aquino, and Officer Andrew Delorey, in recognition of their prompt actions, which had a direct bearing on preventing a tragic outcome when, on September 19, 2015, at approximately 1:15 a.m. they responded to a fight at nightclub ManchVegas, located on Old Granite Street. They located a victim who had sustained a laceration to his arm. Due to the blood spraying from the wound, it was apparent an artery had been severed. Officer Aquino took immediate action by grabbing the victim’s arm and applying pressure to the wound, in an effort to stop the bleeding. Officer Andrew Delorey assisted by placing a tourniquet on the victim. Both officers continued to apply pressure to the wound until the arrival of medical technicians.

Were it not for the quick actions of the two officers, the injured man may have died from loss of blood.


Sgt. Joseph Ryan
Sgt. Joseph Ryan

Life Saving Medal awarded to Sgt. Joseph Ryan who, on February 2, 2015, shortly after 1:30 p.m., responded to the Comfort Inn on Queen City Avenue reference a report of an unresponsive female subject. Upon entering the hotel room, he observed a woman lying on the floor and male subject performing chest compressions on her. Sgt. Ryan determined the woman was not breathing and had no pulse and quickly took over administering chest compressions. The woman began to respond, and Sgt. Ryan located a pulse. Shortly after, members of the fire department arrived and administered doses of Narcan which aided the woman in regaining consciousness.

Were it not for the quick actions of Sgt. Ryan, in all likelihood, the woman would not have survived the opiate overdose.

Officer Shawn McCabe
Officer Shawn McCabe

Life Saving Medal awarded to Sgt. Shawn McCabe who, on March 11, 2015, at approximately 8:45 p.m., was first on scene at 533 Kimball St. in response to a dispatched call of a woman having been shot.

He located the victim who was lying on a bed holding her neck. Sgt. McCabe observed the wound to be bleeding profusely and took steps to pack the wound with whatever was at hand for use. Then, while applying pressure to the wound with his forearm wrapped around her neck, Sgt. McCabe picked the woman up and carried her outside in an effort to expedite her receiving medical attention from paramedics who were arriving. Sgt. McCabe continued to apply pressure to the woman’s neck as he carried her into the ambulance.

The attending doctor at the hospital stated that had the woman not received medical attention as quickly as she had, she would have died.


Officers Beland, Choi and Tanner.
Officers Beland, Choi and Tanner.

Honorable Service Medal awarded to Officers Adam Beland, Andrew Choi and Warren Tanner who, on September 13, 2015, at approximately 10 a.m., responded to the Bridge Street Bridge for a despondent man who had climbed over the “suicide prevention” fencing and was hanging from the outer railing, threatening to commit suicide. Due to the nature of the fencing, there were no proactive measures the officers could take to reach the subject, so they began a dialogue with the man. Through the use of negotiations and effective communication skills, the officers convinced the man to return to the safety of the sidewalk.

Officer Tyler Gagne
Officer Tyler Gagne

Life Saving Medal awarded to Officer Tyler Gagne who, on Nov. 6, 2015, at approximately 3:20 p.m., along with fellow Officer Kevin O’Meara, responded to a report of a potential suicidal male subject standing outside the safety fencing of the Bridge Street Bridge, spanning the Merrimack River.

Both officers engaged the man in conversation, but in a very short period, it became apparent that Officer Gagne had developed the best rapport with the man and took over as primary negotiator. The man spoke of his family members, and when Officer Gagne mentioned the man’s granddaughter, he observed a slight change in the man’s demeanor. Officer Gagne continued on the subject of the granddaughter and within minutes was able to successfully talk the man into climbing back over the fence to safety.

The man stated he had been drinking prior to climbing over the bridge fencing but could not explain what had prompted him to consider suicide, yet admitted that at the time he fully intended to jump. He thanked Officer Gagne for talking him back to safety and relayed that speaking of his granddaughter was what ultimately changed his mind.

Officer Cody Healy
Officer Cody Healy

Life Saving Medal awarded to Officer Cody Healy who, on Nov. 8, 2015, at approximately 1:30 p.m., was conducting routine patrol when he saw a male subject lying on the sidewalk of the Bridge Street Bridge. He stopped to check on the man’s condition and noticed the man’s face was blue and that he was unconscious and not breathing.

Officer Healy radioed for medical assistance and immediately began administering chest compressions. As he continued with compressions, the man began vomiting and choking on the vomit at which point Officer Healy rolled the victim on his side and delivered back blows to clear the man’s throat. Officer Healy continued a routine of chest compressions and rolling the man to his side for several minutes until the man began to regain consciousness and breath. Officer Healy talked with the man to keep him conscious until medical technicians arrived.

Officer Healy learned the man had consumed alcohol and drug substances which led to an overdose. Were it not for the quick actions of Officer Healy, it is likely the man would have lost his life due to the effects of the overdose.

Officer Chris Cunningham
Officer Chris Cunningham

Life Saving Medal awarded to Officer Christopher Cunningham who, on Nov. 15, 2015, at approximately 3:55 p.m., responded to the aid of an unconscious, unresponsive male whose condition was due to a drug overdose. The man’s brother was on the phone with a 911 operator and was performing CPR. Officer Cunningham took control of the situation and began administering chest compressions, continuing until the victim gasped for breath and a pulse was detected.

Officer Cunningham stayed with the victim until medical technicians arrived. The EMTs administered four doses of Narcan before the victim regained consciousness. It was learned that the victim was a heroin addict and had used heroin just prior to losing consciousness.

Life Saving Medal awarded to Officer David Labbe who, on November 19, 2015, shortly after 1 a.m. was on routine patrol when he observed a cloud of smoke coming from a six-family apartment building on Bremer Street. As he neared the source he could see that a corner of the third floor of the structure was engulfed in flames.

Officer Labbe called the fire in to dispatch and then, without regard to his own safety, he entered the building and began knocking on doors to evacuate the residents, instructing them to exit and got to a safe area across the street. He made his way to the third floor where he encountered a neighbor of the building who had also stopped to aid in evacuating the building, and who assisted Officer Labbe to evacuate residents. Officer Labbe entered the apartment which was actually on fire in order to ensure no occupant had been left behind. He then descended the stairs to the second floor where he double-checked each apartment. Upon making his way to the first floor, he encountered two fellow officers who had just arrived and who were checking that the two apartments were cleared. Before exiting the building, Officer Labbe assisted firemen in carrying several hoses up to the third floor.

Officers Kevin O'Meara and Dan Craig
Officers Kevin O\’Meara and Dan Craig

Life Saving Medal awarded to Officer Daniel Craig and Officer Kevin O’Meara who, on Dec. 9, 2015, at approximately 7:18 a.m., responded to a call of a potential suicide situation. The door of the residence was locked, but through windows on the side of the door they observed a female standing on the outside of a railing of the second-floor landing. As they continued their efforts to gain entry, they observed the woman was now dangling from the railing, suspended by some type of ligature around her neck.

The officers forced a window out of the frame and reached through the opening to unlock the door. Both rushed to assist the woman, Officer O’Meara grabbed her legs and lifted her upwards to relieve the pressure and Officer Craig reached down from the second floor landing to pull the woman back over the railing, where he cut a scarf from around her neck. The woman was unconscious but still breathing and she began to open her eyes and became alert and was then able to walk down the stairs to a waiting ambulance.

Officers Duqette and Mullen.
Officers Duqette and Mullen.

Honorable Service Medal awarded to Officers Steven Duquette and Patrick Mullen who, on Jan. 13, 2016, while working an off-duty detail at the Elliot Hospital, were approached by a man who advised his 20-year-old son, who had a history of suicidal attempts, had fled from him into the hospital parking garage.

Officer Duquette responded to the garage. He located the young man who fled, so Officer Duquette pursued him on foot. The pursuit continued to the second floor of the garage where the man scaled a railing and threatened to jump. He bluntly stated that he no longer wanted to live and would jump if Officer Duquette moved any closer.

Due to the man’s agitated and emotionally charged state, Officer Duquette maintained his distance and called for assistance from the Fire Department. The railing was approximately 30-40 feet above the paved parking lot below.

Officer Mullen responded to the scene to assist and approached the man from behind while Officer Duquette maintained a dialogue to keep the man’s attention focused on him. At the soonest opportunity, Officer Mullen grabbed the man by his arm and the back of his jacket and pulled him off the railing to safety.

Team cited by the U.S. Marshal's Service for their police work leading to the capture of Matthew Dion
Team cited by the U.S. Marshal’s Service for their police work leading to the capture of Matthew Dion

U.S. Marshal Service Certificates of Recognition awarded to: Lt. Joseph Mucci; Sgts. Peter Kucharski and Ken Loui; Detectives Justin Breton, Daniel Doherty, Patrick Houghton, Matthew Solari and Robert Tremblay for the Matthew Dion Homicide Investigation and Arrest.

In March 2014, Manchester Police Department began a year-long investigation into the homicides of Robert and Constance Dion, for which their son Matthew Dion was the primary suspect. On June 3, 2015, Matthew Dion was located in Florida and taken into custody by the U. S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force. On the day of the arrest, MPD detectives traveled to Florida and conducted a post-arrest interview, during which Dion made a full confession.

Excerpts from a letter of appreciation from N.H. District U. S. Marshal David Cargill read:

On behalf of the U.S. Marshal Service, District of New Hampshire, I would like to take this opportunity to commend several members of the Manchester Police Department for their outstanding work on the criminal investigation of Matthew Dion, as well as their assistance during the pursuit of Matthew Dion as a U.S. Marshals Top 15 fugitive.

As a result of the diligent efforts of [this] team of investigators, along with the collaboration of countless investigators across the United States, we can proudly say that Matthew Dion has faced justice for his heinous crimes.

The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force is proud to have forged strong relationships with [these] investigators who contributed tirelessly throughout this pursuit of justice.

These law enforcement professionals have brought great credit upon themselves, the Manchester Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the law enforcement community as a whole.

Certificates of Recognition have been awarded by the U.S. Marshals headquarters in recognition of the efforts and professionalism demonstrated by these individuals during the investigation and arrest of Top 15 fugitive, Matthew Dion.


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About this Author


Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!